Russian teen charged under 'gay propaganda’ law

04 Oct, 2018
Last week, Maxim Neverov, 16, became the first minor charged under Russia’s “gay propaganda” law. He told the media this will not stop his LGBTQ activism.

Maxim Neverov, 16, was asked in late July to go to the police station in his hometown, Biysk, a small city near Russia’s southern border. Accompanied by his father, Neverov eventually discovered he was called — and subsequently detained — because of images he had saved to a photo album on the Russian social media platform Vkontakte.
Then on Aug. 7, two weeks after he was detained, Neverov became the first minor charged under Russia’s so-called gay propaganda law.

“The photos showed guys hugging. I didn’t publish them, just saved them in an album,” Neverov told NBC News this week in an email. “One of the photos said, ‘Love is better than f-----g.’ I saved them and forgot about them — just as tens of thousands of teenagers do all across Russia.”

Neverov said he deleted the images from his account after he was detained. He also said he did not admit guilt during his detainment, referring to an article in Russian law that prevents someone from testifying against himself.

“I never thought they would charge me according to this," Neverov said of the law. "Biysk officials don’t like what I do, and instead of fixing things that I and many people don’t like, they fine these people."

Russia’s “gay propaganda” law, passed in 2013 by the Russian legislature, makes any act or event that authorities deem to promote homosexuality to minors illegal and punishable by a fine. Neverov was fined 50,000 rubles ($736) — more than the average monthly salary in Russia.